New Driver Choosing Starter Company

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Old School's Comment
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Running team doesn't really seem very conducive to training, what with the trainer and trainee having opposite schedules

Asher, be real careful about trying to figure everything out about trucking, and how best to bring new drivers up to speed. It's one of the most common mistakes we see rookie drivers making. They have all this information they can access on the internet, but so much of it is bogus. Then they talk with each other at orientations and get all sorts of ideas in their heads that aren't correct. It's a struggle to know what is right and what is wrong. That's the whole reason this website got started. Brett called it Trucking Truth because there was a serious lack of credible information available to new folks wanting to get into the career. Running team during training is actually very beneficial to the trainee. Nobody starts their training that way. At first the trainer is in the jump seat helping the new driver, but at some point it is very helpful to start to put more responsibility on the new guy. Trucking is a very independent job. It requires independent thinking and decision making skills. By teaming together with a trainer in the sleeper a new driver can learn to make his own decisions all while knowing he's got someone right there behind him that he can wake up if he needs some help. It also gives you a break from the other person, and trust me after a couple of weeks together in a truck you will be looking for anyway to have a little relief from their constant presence.

Think about your own experience. You said this...

Initially I planned to go to work for TMC. Long story short, I decided during TMC's orientation that the company isn't for me. Load securement isn't an issue, but tarping and untarping *every day* isn't something I was prepared to deal with.

Forgive me for saying this, but when I first read that yesterday I chuckled out loud. I thought, "What in the world was this guy thinking?" You decided to go with a flat-bed operation not even realizing you would be tarping and un-tarping loads almost daily. That's what flat-bedders do! I'm just pointing this out to you as an example of how easy it is to misunderstand how things work out here. Tarping doesn't have anything to do with TMC not being the company for you. Tarping is just part of being a flat-bed driver. It's no reflection on TMC. So, now you've figured out that you don't want to be a flat-bed driver, but you kind of wasted some time at an orientation to figure that out. You are still on the hunt for employment and you are giving up income at this point that you could have been taking in.

I guess running team during training for Prime would whittle those miles down pretty quick, but it's still a big commitment. At TMC, they would potentially switch trainer/trainees to team after two weeks if the trainee was on top of things. But I know for a fact that some trainers used that as an opportunity to run their trainees ragged in order to pretty much double their paychecks...

That's the kind of information that you heard from other rookies. You just have got to be careful about sorting through all this stuff. What do the rookies know about how this stuff works? They are barely getting started at this. Don't put too much stock in what you hear from the rumor mills at orientation. Here's an Article About Training that might help you understand some of this stuff. Please take the time to read it. Trucking is a big commitment, you said it yourself in reference to Prime's training. That is one thing that stands out to me. You seem to understand that this will be a huge commitment. It's also troubling me. You seem to be narrowing down your options based on the fact that you don't want to make the commitment required. You very quickly determined that you didn't want to commit to tarping loads, and you backed out of your first opportunity. It was an excellent opportunity too.

One of my instructors at CDL school worked for Schneider and highly recommended them. I got my tanker endorsement but with the shaving requirement i decided that's not for me either. That left dry van.

Now you have got it narrowed down to dry van. That's good I guess, but no matter where you end up in trucking it will take a huge commitment on your part. You couldn't commit to tarping. You couldn't commit to shaving. What do you think will be the next barrier to trucking for you? I'm just gonna tell you something. I would have shaved my whole body to get started in this career. I wanted it that badly. I hope you've got a little bit of that kind of determination in you. Otherwise you will flounder around, quit this rewarding career, and end up as one of the guys on the internet who incessantly complains about how the trucking industry treated him like a slave. I don't want to see that happen to you!

I've been a little tough on you. Forgive me if I am trying to steer you in a certain direction that you don't need. I've been doing this a long time and I have a good track record for recognizing the guys who aren't going to make it. If there is one thing I want for each of our visitors, it is that they succeed in their pursuit of their new trucking career.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Asher;

Old School has some excellent wisdom in his above post. Actually always does.

Also, keep in mind, flatbed isn't for everyone. At all. We (hubby and I ) pulled flats for a few winters when asphalt was in 'off season' (tanks.) It was only concrete on tripod trailers, but securement was still paramount. He (we) hated it. It was simply the only alternative to taking unemployment for a few months when the asphalt wouldn't pump on/off due to the cold temps.

Now, he hauls boxes in boxes, and loves it. Mostly drop/hook, but tonight, for instance ... is a live unload, and he WILL be bringing the rig home, running up on his 14 from the 2 d/h's earlier in the day.

Everyone has their niche in what they like to haul & how, in trucking. For instance, Rob T. and Papa Pig .. love working their butts off (methinks!) as they are fit & trim enough to do so, LoL!

Wish you well;

Still following~

~ Anne ~

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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CFI would pay for your tuition as long as you drive one year with them. We have pet and rider policies.

You say you don't need home time, you could take it almost anywhere. All you need is a place to park your rig.

With CFI you don't lose days you earn and can save them up to take longer time off.

Good luck.

All the companies you're looking at are great places to start.

The Flying Fireman's Comment
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Hey Asher,

Welcome to the forum. I will throw my 2 cents in, since it's a bit in my wheelhouse. I started with McElroy, which was 4 weeks on the road with your trainer, then one last week in Cuba, Alabama to finish up. We tarped EVERYTHING at McElroy, except for shingles and most days were between 12 and 14 hour days. The money is good, but you earn every dime.

I then moved to Schneider, in the intermodal division in Fort Worth. (Haslet) I was with them for 18 months and the only reason I left is because I moved 3 hours away from the rail yard. I would recommend Schneider to anyone. I was treated really well as a driver, paid fairly and enjoyed special perks for safety and performance. (free jacket, boots, crock pot, yard games, etc).

If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Clayton J.'s Comment
member avatar

I got my CDL through Prime 6 Years. I enjoyed it for the most part. They paid me to learn how to pass my cdl test, then paid Me the entire time driving team with my mentor. It gets rough toward the end and in the beginning of that Team driving. Definitely isnt for Me. It went by pretty fast. Next thing i knew i had my own truck driving solo. It was enjoyable experience. Im definitely glad i went that route. Its been 6 Years but im sure most of the things they do and how they do it i could answer questions if you have any. If i had to do it all over again i wouldnt change anything. I left after my Year was up and got a local intermodal job.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Clayton J.'s Comment
member avatar

I got into my own truck after 7 weeks. My trainer said i was ready. Including the PSD phase i think its called it took like 11 weeks total. Went by fast. And to each his own but i liked dedicated regional over the road much better then OTR but if youve seen the the 48 states its a great way to do it. I would have never to this day seen New York, Boston, Montana, Wyoming, Seattle, Grand Canyon, etc etc etc if i didnt do OTR in the beginning. I like the West Coast by far the best but each his own.

Hello forum,

I got my CDL A from a private company via my local community college. Initially I planned to go to work for TMC. Long story short, I decided during TMC's orientation that the company isn't for me. Load securement isn't an issue, but tarping and untarping *every day* isn't something I was prepared to deal with. It didn't help that there were no driver trainers in my area. So I'm now looking into alternatives.

Aside from TMC, only Schneider and McElroy recruiters visited my school. Since leaving TMC orientation, I have been in touch with recruiters from Schneider, Prime and CRST.

One of my instructors at CDL school worked for Schneider and highly recommended them. I got my tanker endorsement but with the shaving requirement i decided that's not for me either. That left dry van. Home time isn't an issue for me (single, no children, no mortgage, comfortable with solitude) and the Schneider recruiter indicated that the option exists to stay out longer than the 2 weeks in the job description. The recruiter also indicated they will work with drivers who wish to transfer to other 'positions' as appropriate.

Prime appeals mostly because of their pet policy. I don't currently have a pet, but it's something I had *very* seriously considered after getting settled into the OTR life. Otherwise I imagined spending any free time reading, listening to music/podcasts or pursuing other such activities.

Any suggestions/advice will be greatly appreciated.

Regards, Asher Higgs

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
John Miller's Comment
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